The Civil Services Exam (Mains) began with the Essay paper. For those aspiring to write this prestigious exam in future, it is important to take note of the paper pattern.

This year, Essay paper was balanced and provided ample opportunities to the prepared candidate. There has been continuity in the topics given in past papers and this one. Coherent presentation of ideas with appropriate examples will fetch good marks.


Let’s take a look at both the sections of Essay Question paper.

Section I : Carrying 125 marks. Write an essay on any one of the following in 1000-1200 words.

Q1. Farming has lost the ability to be a source of subsistence for majority of farmers in India.

Q2. Impact of the new economic measures on fiscal ties between the Union and States in India.

Q3. Destiny of a nation is shaped in its classrooms.

Q4. Has the Non-Alignment Movement (NAM) lost its relevance in a multipolar world?

Section II  : Carrying 125 marks. Write an essay on any one of the following in 1000-1200 words.

Q1. Joy is the simplest form of gratitude.

Q2. Fulfilment of ‘new woman’ in India is a myth.

Q3. We may brave human laws but cannot resist natural laws.

Q4. ‘Social media’ is inherently a selfish medium.


Brief Analysis of the CSE Essay paper 2017 Mains:

Pattern: Since 2014, there have been 8 topics given out which candidates have to choose two from each section. There has been no change in the pattern since the last couple of years.

Topics and Subjects: The first section offers choices in the field of Diplomacy (NAM), Education (Classroom shaping destiny), Agricultural economy (Farmers income) and Current Economic issue (GST impact on states and federalism).

The second section offers the much-expected domain of Technology (Social media), and Women ( New woman in India), while two options are given in the ethics and value domain ( Joy gratitude; Human and natural laws).

Continuity: Education, Diplomacy, Federalism, Women empowerment, Technology good-bad issues, Inclusivity (farmer issue featured in Economic Survey), Ethics oriented happiness-fullfilment- joy-gratitude. These themes have been consistently seen in past year topics in Essay papers.

Approach: Preparation for the Essay paper is not done in a silo. It happens as you delve deeper in the syllabus of General Studies papers. All these topics are covered in those subjects. For getting good marks in the essay of UPSC mains, one just needs to be simple and clear in presenting the ideas. Maintaining a flow of thought, giving a comprehensible structure to the essay is what high scorers of essay do. Accentuate with relevant examples or anecdotes and you have an impressive write-up.

UPSC CSE Mains 2017 Essay Paper – Download and Analysis

For those aspiring to write UPSC Civil Services exam in future, it will be helpful to attempt writing a mock essay on these topics. You can post your answers in the comments below and improve the lacunae to become sure of your Essay paper marks when you write the Mains. Overcome the hesitation of knowledge barriers and let the ideas roll. Happy writing!

Study Material for UPSC IAS Prelims and Mains